Gibbs Law Group attorney, Craig Rosler, served as second chair and led the briefing that resulted in an important victory in the U.S. Supreme Court last week. In Thacker v. TVA, the Supreme Court considered whether a government-owned corporation supplying electric power to millions of Americans is immune from suit. The Court ultimately revived Craig’s client’s personal-injury suit against the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA), ruling that it can’t invoke sovereign immunity from lawsuits involving its commercial functions.
Gary Thacker, a sport fisherman, was boating in the Tennessee River in 2013 when he struck a low-hanging wire being worked on by TVA crews. Thacker was injured and a passenger killed.
Thacker sued TVA for negligence. The TVA moved to dismiss the lawsuit on sovereign-immunity grounds, arguing that the TVA is entitled to immunity from any suit based on an employee’s exercise of “discretionary functions.” The district court agreed and dismissed the lawsuit. On appeal, the Eleventh Circuit affirmed.
The Supreme Court unanimously decided TVA can be sued when it performs the same functions as private companies. Specifically, the Court stated that under certain circumstances, TVA may have immunity when acting more like a government agency.
Importance of the Supreme Court’s Ruling
Bloomberg Law published an article about the Court’s ruling, in which University of St. Thomas law professor Gregory S. Sisk noted that the decision “is more far-reaching than might first be realized.” He went on to say,
“As the federal government becomes more involved in such activities that parallel the private sector, the doors of the courthouse will open more widely as well for those who are harmed by the government’s conduct.”
The article also quoted Dorsey & Whitney LLP partner Alex Hontos, who stated “the decision ‘makes it more likely that quasi-governmental Federal entities can be sued by private entities for wrongs or harm that they cause,’” and that
“Quasi-governmental entities will now ‘have a harder time relying on sovereign immunity as a defense.’”
Congratulations on a great victory, Craig!
About Craig Rosler
Craig Rosler has over 20 years of experience in a variety of complex litigation from consumer torts and commercial disputes to product-liability cases, including drugs, medical devices, and mass toxic torts. He specializes in case-dispositive briefing, at the pre-trial stage, through trial, and on appeal.
About Gibbs Law Group’s Attorneys
Our award-winning lawyers have achieved landmark recoveries and over a billion dollars for their clients in high-stakes class action and individual cases involving consumer protection, data breach, digital privacy, and federal and California employment lawsuits. Our attorneys have received numerous honors for their work, including “Titans of the Plaintiffs Bar,” “California Lawyer Attorney of the Year (CLAY) Award,” “Top Plaintiff Lawyers in California,” “Top Class Action Attorneys Under 40,” “Consumer Protection MVP,” “Best Lawyers in America,” and “Top Cybersecurity/ Privacy Attorneys Under 40.”